Mediterranean diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, fish and poultry and various research studies in the recent past have credited the diet for a healthy mind and body. The diet has been found to be beneficial for the heart and is believed to be beneficial for weight management and even for controlling blood sugar levels. This is why diets rich in fresh foods and whole grains are said to be linked with lowered risk of diabetes and cardiovascular ailments. A new study has said that Mediterranean diet may promote brain function in those suffering from diabetes. In the past, Mediterranean diet has been linked with improved brain health, but there was no clear picture about how this diet affects people with diabetes as compared to those without it.
The study titled, "The Mediterranean Diet and 2-Year Change in Cognitive Function by Status of Type 2 Diabetes and Glycemic Control" has been published in the journal Diabetes Care. The study was conducted by researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. For the study, the researchers looked at eating patterns of 913 participants in Boston, over a period of two years and recorded the change in their cognitive function through a series of tests. These tests also evaluated the participants' memory and executive function.
The scientists scored the participants' eating habits based on how much they ate from among the main foods that are typically included in Mediterranean diets. In addition, they also considered foods from the two other heart-healthy diets as per the American Heart Association (AHA), one of which is the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. Among participants without diabetes, all three types of diets were found to have positive impacts on memory, but no changes were observed in other types of cognitive function. However, in diabetics, following a Mediterranean diet was seen to have a wide range of improvements in brain health.
Those diabetics who followed a diet that more closely resembled Mediterranean diet, showed greater improvements in brain function, as compared to those who didn't follow it. The study concluded by saying, "Both adhering to a Mediterranean diet and effectively managing type 2 diabetes may support optimal cognitive function. Healthy diets, in general, can help improve memory function among adults without type 2 diabetes."
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